I’ve watched with interest as our local park undergoes major redevelopment of its playing fields, gardens and ponds.

One element of the works that has seemed a bit sad is the very public eradication of the turtle population in the ponds. Of course the turtles obviously had to go — they’re interlopers, the stuff of urban legends, released from tiny plastic turtle pools to grow to vast proportions in the sewers until the day they crawl out in their legions and take over London. Day of the Turtles. It’s a health and safety catastrophe waiting to happen.

Although turtles eat the eggs of ducks and moorhens and generally bugger up the natural biodiversity of the park, I always thought they looked like friendly souls, and hoped they’d be rehoused somewhere nice — like the Galapagos maybe. Because even if they were plotting the overthrow of mammalian society, they were doing it quietly, without a lot of extraneous arm-waving. I admired them for that.

Today, as I walked round the ponds, I noted that foliage has begun to grow on the newly-created banks, so it wasn’t looking quite so bare. A heron stood in its usual place on the island. Ducklings swam.

And then I saw a head — a little Loch Ness-monster-shaped head sticking out of the water. Near the bank. Four legs swimming.

A turtle!

I felt unaccountably happy. Rejoice, people of North London! Celebrate the outsider, the underdog, the persecuted, the teeming masses yearning to breathe free!  The ethnic cleansing of turtles has failed and a new generation of turtledom arises from the murky depths to swim another day!

Insert your own metaphors here.


6 thoughts on “TURTLES UNITE!

  1. raych 9 years ago

    My university campus is riddled with bunnies, and because I live in a happy hippy town any attempt to MURDER ALL THE BUNNIES is met with severe picketing, but because bunnies are an adorable health hazard, there are frequent attempts to reduce the amount of bunnies. Which, dude. They are bunnies. If you have one bunny you will have a million bunnies, so you either have to kill ALL the bunnies or just give up.

    The bunnies make me feel triumphant.

  2. Meg 9 years ago

    And you, Raych, make me feel triumphant. Funny.

  3. Kathryn Evans 9 years ago

    Hoorah for the survivor! I am a little worried it’s lonely and sad without Raphael and whatever the other ones were called, then again am utterly wet, can’t even abandon the stick insects to face life in the wilds of our hedge….

  4. Vivian Oldaker 9 years ago

    Aargh! All this talk of turtles has just reminded me that I’m supposed to be feeding my daughter’s fish while she’s away and I haven’t been….I best go look……phew! Vedder Hendrix is alive and apparently well. I couldn’t see Lancelot, but he’s a loach and often hides. Panic over.
    There are so many “foreign” species in England’s green and pleasant land; grey squirrels, parakeets, mink, crayfish, eagle owls. Having invited them in (or at any rate allowed them access) it would seem a bit churlish to attempt eradication now. And at least Meg’s local pond has turtles – not alligators, the stuff of urban legend supposedly flushed down countless loos when they outgrew their cuteness several years ago!

  5. Meg 9 years ago

    Vedder Hendrix? Wow.

  6. Vivian Oldaker 9 years ago

    What can I say? My daughter has excellent taste in music! Vedder Hendrix’s companion was Fender Hammett, but he died. (Though not through my neglect!)

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